© 2020 Alexandria J. Nylen

TEACHING

Teaching Philosophy Overview:

My primary goal as an instructor is to help students comprehend and critically evaluate complex social science phenomena. I value making academic material relevant to students, so that they leave the classroom more equipped to be engaged world citizens. I do this through an active learning approach to pedagogy, which cultivates an inclusive, dynamic classroom where students can develop their critical thinking and research skills. I invite students to approach social science inquiry with curiosity for its many puzzles and respect for its multifaceted debates. I encourage students to take an active part in their education, and challenge them to  broaden their understandings of the political, so that they may meaningfully engage with complex global issues. 

Sample Course Overview:

The Politics of Warfare, Law and Technology

How has the conduct of warfare changed over time? What role, if any, do international laws and norms play in regulating weapons of war? What are the social and political processes through which military technologies evolve? How do these advancements impact broader society, especially in democratic contexts? This course is not a military history course, nor is it an international law course. Rather, this class explores the multifaceted intersections of politics, war, technology and law. This focus on interconnectedness invites students to adopt a broader understanding of political power, so that they can study topics such as nuclear proliferation and the laws of war alongside the role of significant factors like gender and coloniality. The course takes a theoretically and historically grounded approach to studying these topics, which helps contextualize contemporary and emergent issues. Each class is animated by specific questions, which students will answer through lectures, readings, assignments and detailed case studies.

 

After fully participating in this course, students should be able to:

 

  1. Comprehend and articulate the sources of technological change in warfare

  2. Understand the social and political processes through which technologies intended for combat evolve, and their impact on wider society

  3. Understand the basic frameworks of war law and comprehend debates on the role of laws and norms in the evolution of warfare

  4. Understand and contextualize contemporary policy debates and trends surrounding warfare, technology and law

  5. Produce concise, policy-relevant documents – a valuable skill that is transferable to other political science classes as well as to the professional world

  6. Effectively and efficiently produce a team-based product – another valuable and highly transferable skill

Please contact me for full copies of my syllabi.